ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi said that the federal and provincial governments have launched an unprecedented crackdown against proscribed organizations and all political stakeholders had been taken into confidence over the issue.
“The action taken against the proscribed organizations is our own decision adopted under the National Action Plan (NAP) and all political forces had signed the NAP in 2014.”
Briefing a group of diplomats here on the government’s actions against proscribed organizations, the Interior Minister said that all the key stakeholders, including opposition and religious parties, were taken on board for the crackdown against the proscribed organizations.
He said “Our message is loud and clear which is no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state. Our land would not be allowed to be used against any country.” Referring to government’s action against non-state actors, Shehryar Afridi said the government’s handling of protests against Asia Bibi verdict had sent a message loud and clear to all that no one will be dictating the terms now.
“The crackdown against TLP is a classic example of the state’s resolve against extremism which was even applauded by the opposition parties and the world community. Action against proscribed organizations is nothing to do with FATF and rather it was for wellbeing of our future generation”.
“We want to make it clear that actions related to FATF are responsibility of Pakistan. We have formed committees to launch massive crackdown against proscribed organizations at ministerial and secretarial level while the clergy was also a part of it.”
“The crackdown against proscribed organizations has been exemplary. There will be no compromise on national security,” the minister said.
Shehryar Afridi said that no nation could live in isolation in a global village.
He said any individual act should not be associated with that particular country, people or a certain religion.
He said that Pakistan has fought a war against terrorism to save the world but no one ever bothered to understand why a country which was progressive in 1960s was being portrayed negatively.
The minister said that Pakistan was undergoing a process to ensure supremacy of the rule of law and even Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that even he was accountable before the law.
“For the very first time in our history, all institutions and entire Pakistan are on the same page and we are taking decisions as a team. No one can dictate its terms on Pakistan anymore,” he added.
He said that prime minister had met with leading religious scholars from all sectarian groups including Wafaq-ul-Madaris, Wafaq Ittehad Tanzeem and Islamic Ideology Council.
They all assured the PM that they stand by the decisions taken by the federal government at all levels.
The minister urged the diplomatic community to play a bridging role so as Pakistan’s true image could be projected.
“We are taking action against human trafficking, money laundering and drug business. For the purpose, we are fencing our borders and all exit and entry points are being monitored and patrolling is being made in professional manner.”
Shehryar Afridi said “We are also monitoring banking channels besides launching action against Hawala and Hundi. We have choked currency movements from all airports and officials of Customs, FIA, Anti-Narcotics Force and Airport Security Force are taking strict measures to block illegal currency and drugs flight.”
The minister said that the PTI government was also ensuring provision of equal rights to people from religious minorities and the action taken on alleged abduction of two Hindu girls was an example in this regard. “Let me assure you that whosoever is found involved in the incident will be made an example,” he added.
Referring to the new visa regime launched by the federal government, the minister said that Pakistan had been opened for the investors, tourists and adventurists as Pakistan was blessed with world’s most rich environment and tourist resorts.
“We want to convey to the whole world that through the sacrifices that our army and our people have made in war against terrorism has now made Pakistan one of the most peaceful countries of the world. Now the doors of my country are open for the world,” he added.
The minister said that under the new policy, people from 50 countries would be given visa on arrival facility while nationals of 175 countries could get online visa.
Moreover, business visa is available for people from 66 to 98 countries.
He added as far as NOCs are concerned, the same would also be provided and everything will be crystal clear within next two weeks.
Shehryar Afridi said that Pakistan had also reduced the visa fees despite financial crisis.
The minister said that since PTI government was delivering goods practically, the world was now acknowledging its positive role for regional peace and development.
Referring to Pakistan’s support for Afghan peace process, the minister said that the US President Donald Trump had appreciated Pakistan’s role in bridging gap between Afghan Taliban and the US.